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Driver fatigue a common contributor to truck crashes

On Behalf of | Feb 26, 2024 | Blog, Trucking Accidents

Driver fatigue is both a pervasive issue in trucking and a frequent cause of truck crashes. The demanding nature of long-haul trucking schedules, combined with irregular work hours and inadequate rest breaks, creates the perfect storm for fatigue-related accidents.

Truck drivers face immense pressure to meet tight deadlines. This leads many to push themselves beyond safe limits. As a result, many truck drivers drive with impaired alertness and decreased reaction times, increasing the chances of wrecks.

How fatigue affects driving ability

Fatigue impairs a truck driver’s ability to operate his or her vehicle. Drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Fatigued drivers are more likely to exhibit symptoms such as yawning and drifting across lanes, putting themselves and others at risk on the road. Despite regulations limiting driving hours and mandating rest breaks, many truck drivers still struggle to get adequate sleep. This perpetuates the cycle of fatigue-related accidents.

How to prevent fatigue-related truck wrecks

Preventing fatigue-related truck crashes requires addressing both individual and systemic factors. Trucking companies must prioritize driver safety by implementing comprehensive fatigue management programs. These programs should include regular rest breaks, adequate sleep accommodations and education on the dangers of driving while fatigued. Drivers can also help by prioritizing rest, avoiding excessive caffeine and recognizing the signs of drowsiness before they compromise safety. Technology can also help detect signs of fatigue, helping mitigate the risk of accidents.

Per the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, drowsy or fatigued driving contributes to about 13% of truck crashes in the United States. By prioritizing safety and recognizing the dangers of driving while fatigued, employers and truckers can work together to reduce the number of fatigue-related accidents and improve roadway safety for all motorists.